For me the good news is that I've broken the back of the artwork for Eagles Over the Western Front. Volume 1 is done and I should have volume 2 finished in a few days. Of course, when I say finished, I don't mean finished; I mean I have a set of master pages, cleaned, cropped, title panels and lettering all tidied up, original artwork incorporated (25% of the two books are scanned from original art) and ready for the next step. I haven't even started writing the introductions and there are other trifling tasks still to do, like designing covers...
But I'm getting there!
Which is good because we're already planning the next couple of Book Palace titles, which will include the Thriller Comics Index, another project that seems to have been a long time coming.
When I did my little round-up of releases last week, I forgot to include the latest Big Finish Judge Dredd Crime Chronicles audio adventure. Blood Will Tell, written by James Swallow, stars Toby Longworth as Dredd and Paul David-Gough as Garris Hale, an old foe of Dredd's condemned to the radioactive wilderness of the Cursed Earth. Now he's back in Mega-City1 and possesses a secret that could plunge the entire city into anarchy and chaos. John Ainsworth directs and the story runs for around an hour.
And I note that Amazon are now shipping copies of Charley's War: Underground and Over the Top.
Talking of Titan Books, they've just released the first issue of Tank Girl: Skidmarks, a 4-issue, monthly mini-series, revised ("now with added swearing") and re-coloured from its Judge Dredd Megazine appearance. Shoot me down in flames if I'm wrong, but isn't this the first actual honest-to-god American-sized monthly comic Titan have published since the heady days of Eagle Comics in the early 1980s? I know they've reprinted loads of US comics in graphic novel form and rebranded many hundreds more, and they run original comic strips in their magazines (and I emphasise magazines), but this is their first comicbook-sized comic in 25 years!
Three years ago I tried to discover what I could about artist Racey Helps without a huge amount of success, although we got some interesting and useful comments. Three years on and he has his own dedicated website, run by his family. I'm told that there has been some attempts made to get some of his work back into print. No news yet, but the family have recently put together five cards from never-before-seen original artwork. "At the present time we can offer five different greetings cards. Four are blank inside to enable a personal message to be inserted, one of which has a Christmas theme, and the other also has a Christmas theme with a seasonal greeting inside. We have also printed 100 only perpetual calendars and a selection of digital prints on canvas." You can find more details here.
Something I don't often mention is that I'm always tinkering with cover galleries that I've posted in the past and add to them whenever I can. Most recently I've added three images to the James Blish and four to Gavin Lyall. Above is the Chris Foss cover for The Seedling Stars which I'm particularly happy to have found as it's one of the first SF books I bought... and what made me want it was the cover. It also contains one of Blish's finest stories, "Surface Tension", but I didn't know that when I was gawping at the cover in Clarke's bookshop thirty-five years ago. Happy days!
Ben-Hur comes to an end tomorrow, so I'll have to think about what to run next. During next week we'll also have the usual recent releases and coming attractions columns, another "mysteries that have me mystified" column and whatever else I can cram into a 24-hour day.
(* Our column header is a page of original artwork from "Eagles Over the Western Front" drawn by Bill Lacey; a big Thank You to Geoff West of The Book Palace for the loan. "Eagles" is © Look and Learn Ltd. )